Paul L. McEuen was one of three inducted into the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society during the May 11 Convocation on the Norman campus. A Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics at Cornell University, McEuen directs the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics and the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science. His research focuses on nanoscale electronic, optical and mechanical properties of graphene, nanotubes and related materials. He received a bachelor of science degree in engineering physics from OU in 1985 and a doctoral degree in applied physics from Yale University in 1991. He joined the faculty at UC-Berkeley in 1992 before going to Cornell in 2001.
McEuen is interested in both the science of these nanostructures and their applications in physics, materials science, chemistry, biology and engineering. He is particularly fascinated by nanoscale forms of carbon, especially graphene sheets and single-walled carbon nanotubes. His group has probed many fundamental aspects of electron transport in carbon nanotubes, including single electron charging, non-Fermi liquid behavior and topologically induced spin-orbit coupling. They also have probed the physical and mechanical properties of both nanotubes and graphene. For example, they have shown that a one-atom thick graphene membrane is an impenetrable barrier and functions as a high-performance drumhead resonator. McEuen is excited about building tools to interface to the nanoscale world and the construction of functional nanomachines.
McEuen has served on a number of advisory panels and committees, including the DOE BESAC Grand Challenges in Energy Subcommittee (2006), the NRC Decadal Survey Team — Condensed Matter and Materials Physics (2006), and the APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics Executive Committee (2003-2006). He also has organized conferences and workshops, including the Kavli Futures Symposium on Cyborg Cells (2007) and the Gordon Conference on Condensed Matter Physics (2005).
Awards and honors include a Packard Foundation Fellowship, a National Young Investigator Fellowship and the Agilent Europhysics Prize. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He also is a novelist, and his debut scientific thriller SPIRAL was published in the United States by Random House in March 2011 and 15 markets worldwide. He was awarded best debut novel for 2011 by the International Thriller Writers Association.
In 1990, the College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society was established to honor our most accomplished alumni. Selection is based upon prominent and distinguished professional or technical achievement, notable public service, outstanding contributions, and other significant contributions to the engineering profession.
Membership in the society affords the public acknowledgment and recognition befitting these graduates. Each year, society awardees are honored by the administration, faculty and students of the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma through participation in the induction ceremonies at spring convocation.